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Amador Valley High makes a Beatles connection tonight

Talented string musicians will join in touring tribute

When the fabulous mop-topped foursome comes to the Bankhead Theater at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the renowned tribute band Abbey Road, they will be joined by four fab string musicians from Amador Valley High. School.

You'll love them, yeah, yeah, yeah!

The show, called "In My Life," is the musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein.

Amador senior Cynthia Tien, juniors Joseph Mo and Hannah Scarborough, and sophomore Diane Jo will join the band for the songs "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," "A Day in the Life," "Hello Goodbye," and "Hey Jude."

Scarborough, who has been playing the cello for seven years, is a Beatles enthusiast who listened to them growing up as her parents played their albums.

"I adore the Beatles because they wrote substantial cello parts for many songs and their music is timeless and so versatile," Scarborough said. "As a little girl, I loved how quirky the song 'Rocky Raccoon' was."

Mo, a violinist, said his favorite Beatles song is "Hey Jude."

"I'm excited we get to perform the song for this show," he said.

The song "Yesterday" will be played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character performs it for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.

Tien, who plays the viola and is also a pianist, said her favorite Beatles' song is "Blackbird."

"I really like the music the Beatles created," she said.

Jo, who has been playing the violin for six years, said her favorites are "Yesterday" and John Lennon's "Imagine."

These four Pleasanton teen musicians, in addition to playing with the Amador Valley High Orchestra, belong to prestigious area youth ensembles, including the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Oakland Youth Orchestra and the Livermore Pleasanton Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Amador orchestra director Mark Aubel was approached by the producers of "In My Life" as they planned the Tri-Valley show. They told Aubel that they were looking for a talented ensemble that could hold its own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show often uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour.

"In My Life" takes the audience back to February 1964 when the Beatles played "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on "The Ed Sullivan Show." Some 78 million people watched on TV, not to mention the screaming fans sitting in the audience.

The show follows the Beatles on through their musical stages, including the psychedelic era of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the creation of the haunting "Yesterday," and the raucous rock 'n' roll of "Revolution." The Beatles are played by Nathaniel Bott as Lennon, Christopher Overall as McCartney, Jesse Wilder as George Harrison, and Axel Clarke as Ringo Starr.

The musical is produced by Tom Maher and Andy Nagle. Maher said a friend gave him a biography on Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, which was the basis of "In My Life."

"It took a while to get the pacing, but we are happy with the results," Maher said.

He added that he wanted to make the portrayal as accurate as possible, and the band uses the exact gear -- from the box amps to the guitars. Even the costumes they use -- from the suits when they arrive in America to be welcomed by adoring fans, to the ensembles they wore during their Sgt. Pepper's period -- mirror the originals.

The show in Livermore is part of a 125-stop tour of the United States, Canada and Australia, which has been traveling since 2008.

The songs bind the musical together, but the audience also gets to relive the most important moments of the Beatles' epic story and enjoy the band members as they connect with the crowd through their sense of humor and the cheeky banter that is also part of their legacy.

Beatles and more

What: "In My Life -- A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles"

Who: Cast includes musicians from Amador Valley High: Diane Jo, Joseph Mo, Hannah Scarborough and Cynthia Tien

When: 7:30 p.m., Monday, May 18

Where: Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore

Tickets: $42-$60; at the box office; online at www.bankheadtheater.org; or call 373-6800.

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